Well, I anticipated doing another blog long before now, but this appears to be a busy Summer for me. After getting home from Creation I've been running. A whole month has passed already! That's crazy. Last weekend I went to a local music fest that featured Seventh Day Slumber and Disciple. Probably like three months from now I'll get around to doing a blog about that, haha. Starting tomorrow night I'm playing bass for our conference's family camp. Ten straight nights can get grueling after awhile, but I'm ready to go.
Enough with the chit=chat, the real purpose of this blog is to discuss something that happened the very first official night (we were there the night before) of Creation. That night featured Flyleaf, Skillet, and Switchfoot. I left Switchfoot desiring a little something more. I don't know what that something was, but it was missing. Skillet were pretty amazing. Tight is the word that we kept using to describe their show. Musically, emotionally, lighting, pyro, etc. were all just very tight. I tell ya, you haven't lived until you've been in a crowd so big that you could pick your feet off the ground and you wouldn't fall because you're stuck in all the people!
However, Flyleaf opened the night. I've got their record and have been enjoying it. I was excited to see what their live show was like, but I guess I wasn't really expecting a lot. For those of you who are unfamilar with Flyleaf, get out from under your rock! Haha, Serously though they're not a band who typically tours with other Christian bands. I know what you're thinking, "Oh... one of those."
"Those" are happening more and more in Christian music. Cries of "sell out" and jeers of "they're just in it for the money now" have been hurled in their direction. Often times when asked in interviews, they seem to skirt around quesitons of faith (or at least in the interviews that everyone seem to gravitate to). Unlike their counterparts, Flyleaf can't claim that they found big success in the Christian market and then jumped over, but I've heard them accused more than one time of using their "so-called faith" to help boost their album sales to a gullible Christian market. Harsh, but I've heard it.
About halfway through their set at Creation, Lacey of Flyleaf started to talk about how awesome this event was because they don't get to play for "you guys" (meaning the Christian market) very much. She then started to share about how their call was to be a light in a dark place, so that's what they're doing. I got to admit, it brought a tear to my eye! There it was. How can you argue with that?
I know that some bands most likely do it just for their careers. Maybe I'm just not reading the right interviews or the right questions aren't being asked, but it would seem to this humble JfH staffer that if more bands who opted to go the secular route and felt called to do so would just be open about that fact, there'd be a lot less questions.
Regardless, how about some straight answers. If this helps your career and that's your motivation, that's cool with me. This is what you do for a living. All the same if you're doing it because you feel God has called you to share your message with an audience of people who don't know Him, why not be open about it? Personally, I'm more apt to support a Christian band in the secular market who shares their purpose.
Now let me say this, I know some bands are open about their intentions and purposes. That's cool, but for those who don't... I'm tired of shifty answers that skirt the real issue. I'm tired of reading of a band saying something that completely contradicts something else they said.
Why can't they all just give a straight answer?
1. TL2589 said...
Hi. I'm a first-time poster here, so give me some slack, if you don't mind. Thanks. Anyway, I'd say that one big reason that a lot of "secular Christian" bands seem to skirt around questions of faith (moral opinions, why they do what they do, etc.) is that they don't want to offend their audience, which they probably hope is mostly secular. They don't want to be thought of as "preachy". Maybe I'm wrong here, but from what I've read in interviews, or just seen in real life (in the lives of both bands and people), but oftentimes we as Christians will cover up our faith to avoid offending anyone. I can forgive this (I've almost certainly done it myself), but, Matt, I'm with you here- I love it when Christian bands in the secular market are open about their faith. What was a great business opportunity becomes an amazing missions opportunity, on that I'm only too glad to support.
3. Paul Portell said...
Back in the 1970's and 1980's Christian bands, whether they were performing in the Christian or secular arenas, were more open about their faith in Christ than they are now. We need more bands like Flyleaf, P.O.D., and Skillet who still share their faith openly everywhere they go.
5. Matt said...
No, I'm not the Matt that posted above, for the record.
Anyway, it disappoints me how much of a bad reputation Christian bands who play secular music get. But then again, it's understandable- there's no doubt after bands like Chevelle and Squad 5-0 that some musicians see the Christian industry as nothing more than an easy launching point.
But the bands who are genuinely doing this- bands like Flyleaf, Family Force Five, and Switchfoot- should not be frowned upon. God calls us to be a light unto the world, and that's exactly what they're doing. We should be praying for them and offering them our utmost support, because they're going to have a very hard road ahead of them. Sure, some people might criticize them for having cryptic lyrics, but isn't that the only way to get your message to non-Christians? I haven't met a lot of non-Christians who listen to Steven Curtis Chapman, but they will listen to Switchfoot. I think for these bands, the concerts are crucial. At first, I was concerned about Family Force 5 due to the fact that most of their lyrics were just party songs. I thought it looked uncannily like the Squaad 5-0 debut. But I've since seen FF5 in concert three times, and there's no denying that they have a heart for good. That's really how these bands work- the audience comes for the music and stays for the message.
Writing cryptic lyrics is not being ashamed of Christ; it is trying to bring Jesus to the masses in a way they will understand and appreciate.
7. Josh said...
Obviously, every Christian is going to tell you that they believe you should put God first, but does everybody really know what that would entail? I think for some musicians, it's to edify the body of Christ and write overtly Christian music. But maybe, for other musicians, it could be writing lyrics that aren't as "preachy" or whatever so that they can reach a different audience.
I like people like Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and David Crowder. I appreciate what they do. They worship God, and help build up other Christians. But their music wouldn't mean very much to an unbeliever. It takes bands like Flyleaf who are willing to step over and reach out to the lost. God could very well intend to use them to create personal relationships with their fans, and be a witness in that way. Or it could be offering hope in their lyrics.
If you had an unbelieving friend and you play "Blessed Be Your Name", what do you think he will get out of it?
All I'm saying is, people shouldn't be so judgmental of Christians playing in the mainstream market. Sure, there are some bands doing it just for the money. But, deep in my heart, I believe there are bands with very good intentions doing to glorify God. I think we should be supporting them.
Each person has their own function in the church body. Maybe Skillet's is different than Casting Crowns'.
9. Karmae said...
I agree and do not. If someone does not know of God and hears a song by an artist allot of the time they will not listen to them anymore if they claim Christian motives but also they should not sit back and not say anything. I think thought that the important thing is that they themselves have a relationship with Jesus and you cant judge that by the outward completely. I mean there are times when you can and its blatant but for the most part we are all human and we all struggle and we should not be judging each other by what we say or do not say.
Wow, lots of comments. Let me clear a couple of things up about my post...
I don't have a beef with bands being cryptic in their lyrics. However if they feel their purpose is to be more than a worship band and more than "Christian Entertainment" then I want them to say so.
If you want to be out there sharing your faith in a way that is going to attract people then more power to you. (Let's face it... running down the street yelling "Jesus is the way!" Doesn't get many people saved).
Christian... don't you ever feel like we've turned that word into something it was never intended to be?